HomePrayer UpdatesTermite Mounds & Teak Roots

Termite Mounds & Teak Roots

It was a frigid morning in South Sudan—the guard was warming himself by a fire in the backyard, and I put on a long sleeve T-shirt to go for a run with my wife. How cold was it, you ask? It had dipped to 61 degrees! After living at 85-105 degrees, that truly does feel cold.

On our run, we run up and down the potholes, which, being dry season, are filled with powdery red clay dust which poofs up with each step. The air is filled with dust and smoke, as it so dry, and because people are burning the fallen teak leaves and baking mud bricks stacked in giant rectangular piles resembling Mayan temples.

We cross the main road, greet some men standing near the “boda boda” stage (the place where the motorcycle taxis pick up customers), and proceed to run a loop around the expansive tobacco warehouse which was recently built. It is a veritable fortress, with a paved street within the fence with several houses for the management, two immense metal buildings, and a separate entrance with a large metal gate where delivery trucks are seen coming and going. The entire square compound is enclosed with a high chain link fence with human barbed wire, and thorny bushes growing up just outside the fence. To circle it is nearly a mile in length

We cross back over the main road and enter a footpath in our community again. In places, the path is wide enough for a car to make its way through the dense teak forest—and sure enough, we come upon a well-built house with a metal roof, that has a small sports utility vehicle parked in front of it. We pass other homes that are simple thatch roofs and mud walls; some have painted a black border at the base of their home (as the rain splashes the dirt onto the lower 18 inches during rainy season). Some homes are very neatly painted, despite being made entirely of grass, mud, and sticks—a small tin of paint to cover a “tukul” like this costs 6 pounds at the local hardware store ($1.50 US).

As we make our way toward home, the trail becomes rougher, and we pass by some recently formed mud bricks still drying in the early morning sun. We run through the soft sandy soil, hopping over termite mounds and teak roots. Says Elizabeth, “this is true cross-country running!” So goes our early morning run in South Sudan during dry season.

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 March 2014 15:05

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